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Having Two-Year Patience, And 2024 Draft Aftermath

With 12 picks, it already feels like a lifetime ago the Cardinals selected Marvin Harrison Jr. at the outset of the draft. And please don't ask GM Monti Ossenfort about what this class can really be.

"Can we talk again in two years?" Ossenfort asked hopefully after it was all over Saturday.

In truth, part of what the Cardinals do in their scouting process is ask for grades that project the players two years down the road. Rookies will be rookies, but the Cards are trying to find out what they can be with experience in the NFL. It's easy to be happy with a draft class in the hours after; I mean, if you can't be excited then for what you just took, you are really doing it wrong.

But Harrison is expected to be great (no pressure) and one NFL Network pundit was already predicting Darius Robinson would be defensive rookie of the year. Who knows. There's a long way before the game start.

The Cardinals got who they wanted, however. Optimism is growing. The offense, in particular, seems to be in a real good place. And so we wait to see what it all means on Sundays.

-- There were no trades on Saturday, although Ossenfort said there were plenty of opportunities to move. "Our motivation was to stick and pick," he said.

-- All I could think about as the Cardinals drafted three more cornerbacks -- Max Melton, Elijah Jones and Jaden Davis, not to mention safety Dadrion Taylor-Desmond -- is that there will be some heavy competition back there, given that they just brought in Garrett Williams, Kei'Trel Clark and Starling Thomas V last season. They all can't make it.

-- It was interesting to see the Cardinals take a running back in the third round, but they seemed to come out well with Trey Benson, who gives the kind of power/speed combo teams crave (and probably would've drafted late first-round/second round back in the day). James Conner is coming off a 1,000-yard season, but the way Drew Petzing likes to run it, having a pair of guys like that -- with Michael Carter thrown in -- sounds like an attractive running back trio.

-- Gannon said he likes the outside linebacker room as it grows. The Cardinals need BJ Ojulari to take a big step forward and how fifth-round pick Xavier Thomas is TBD. Thomas, who was the third-ranked recruit in all of the country coming out of high school, maybe can add some things. First-rounder Darius Robinson, who was listed as an edge in draft runup, will be a defensive lineman in the Cardinals scheme (although I love the idea of being able to move him around on the line.)

-- Tight end Tip Reiman is a blocker. But can he be more? Possible. The Cardinals seem to think so, and his development will be interesting to watch. There in an athletic score based on testing, and since 1987, out of 1,199 tight ends measured, Reiman was 10th all-time in that score. (And if he just continues to kill it as a blocker, that's fine too. Trey McBride can handle the other stuff.)

-- The Cardinals, with their 12 picks (yes, unsigned but are coming) have 89 players on the roster. One is tight end Bernhard Seikovits, who carries with him an international roster exemption. But with 88 officially, that means the Cardinals only have two open spots for undrafted rookies (unless they release someone, which is possible and maybe even likely.)

"That's the value of those late-round picks is that you don't have to get into the bidding war of the undrafted free agency market," Ossenfort said. "Our roster number is pretty high. ... We'll certainly be ready for the undrafted market and see if there's guys (that we like). We've done as much work on those undrafted guys as we have on the guys we've drafted. That's a big part of what we do, so if there's a chance to add somebody there that we feel improves us, upgrades us and adds competition to the roster, we'll definitely be active in that market."

-- Along those lines the Cards are reportedly signing undrafted Colorado wideout Xavier Weaver to a hefty UDFA contract.

-- The 12 picks are the most for the Cardinals in a draft since 1992 -- when the draft actually lasted 10 rounds. Since the draft moved to seven rounds in 1994, the most the Cards had previously picked in a draft was 11 (1999 and 2019). And why it felt like I had covered a whole draft by the end of Friday night.

-- The Cardinals took seven players in the first 90 picks in this year's draft. That hasn't happened for a team since the Cowboys also got seven in the first 90 in 1991 -- off the infamous haul from the Herschel Walker trade with the Vikings.

-- The final pick of the draft for the Cardinals was Jaden Davis, who was selected No. 226 -- the same choice the team spent on safety Pat Tillman back in 1998. Tillman was killed 20 years ago this week, and with the confluence of events, some Tillman scholars were the ones to announce the Davis choice in Detroit.

Davis admitted he doesn't know much about Tillman -- at this point, kids are coming into the league who are too young to remember it in real time -- but it still resonated with him.

"I'm really excited to be honored in that way," Davis said. "Obviously I'm going to go into (the history) more and deeper so I can go up to AZ and know that this pick was important to them. That's what they said to me. It's important to them so I'm going to make sure it's important to me."

"We tried hard all weekend to not trade (the pick)," Ossenfort said. "We wanted to keep that pick and thankfully it worked out."

That's all for yet another Cardinals draft weekend, my 23rd. Time for a beverage.

Arizona Cardinals first-round draft pick, Marvin Harrison Jr., poses for a photo at SeatGeek Studio on Friday, April 26, 2024 in Tempe, AZ.

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